Everything Was Good-bye
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Everything Was Good-bye

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  468 ratings  ·  109 reviews
THE YOUNGEST OF SIX daughters raised by a widowed mother, Meena is a young woman struggling to find her place in the world. Originally from India, her family still holds on to many old-world customs and traditions that seem stifling to a young North American woman. She knows that the freedom experienced by others is beyond her reach. But unlike her older sisters, Meena ref...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 31st 2012 by Pintail (first published January 1st 2008)
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Penguin Group Canada|March 6, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-14-318257-3

Story Description:

The youngest of six daughters raised by a widowed mother, Meena is a young Indo-Canadian woman struggling to find her place in the world. She knows that the freedom experienced by others is beyond her reach. But unlike her older sisters, Meena refuses to accept a life dictated by tradition. Against her mother’s wishes, she falls for a young man named Liam who asks her to run away with him. She must then m...more
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
First off, I won this book on Goodreads First Reads.

On the back cover of this book, the novel is described as "heartwrenching." That is certainly the case. This novel is like bitter, expensive chocolate. It is rich, decadent, but not 100% enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't put this book down. The writing is the best I've read in a while and I'm always fascinated by books that explore cultural divides. However, this book is a bumpy ride and the lives of the main characters are filled with...more
This book was SO good. Firstly, I would like to mention that, in compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads!

Now where to start? The reason I wanted to read this book so bad wasnt because it was listed as a giveaway. I am from Vancouver Island and born in Surrey BC. Meena, our MC lived in North Delta which is close. It's rare that I get to read a coming-of-age fiction novel from Canada, let alone pretty much right next door. The fact...more
I had trouble falling asleep after finishing this book last night. I read most of it this weekend because I couldn't leave it. I immediately felt attached to young Meena and even Liam and Meena's mother in her sorrow and perseverance. I saw my own hopefulness in Meena, yet hopelessness. I rooted for her the whole book, rejoicing in her victories.

The narrative flows perfectly never saying too much and always just enough. It is heartbreaking - to experience, to finish, to not be reading anymore....more
Madeline Dahlman
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn't sure what to expect and I've been given so many similar books to review lately that I really wasn't looking forward to reading this...but now I want to pass it on to almost everyone I know...

The book focuses on Meena, a typical Canadian teenager growing up within a very traditional Indian family and community. As one of 6 sisters, there is a very strong interest in finding her an acceptable arranged marriage and embracing community values. Thi...more
Pea Chic
I enjoyed reading this book because it has great momentum and nicely written (lucid, clear).

Although the story itself has a good flow, there were few instances it didn't make sense. For instance, the character reflects into a past memory and the author fails to bring the character's thought back to the present. I found this very confusing as to whether I missed a part (and had to re-read to ensure that I didn't).

What I found annoying about this story is how negatively the heroine portrays wome...more
Ruth Linka
The reviews are not wrong, this is a good book in some ways and certainly had the potential to be great. But I also think it is being reviewed based on what it could have been. I think readers all want to love this woman, and to get inside her story and understand her background and her life. I SO wanted to love this book, but I was disappointed. Part of the reason this is such a popular book is that we have the last generation's stories of coming to Canada and home, but what we need and want ar...more
With EVERYTHING WAS GOODBYE Gurjinder Basran has written a story whose general theme focuses on the problematic and precarious business of maintaining the delicate balance of residing in what amounts to two different worlds.

Her tale of Meena, a young Indian woman who, having grown up in the atmosphere of Western freedom after her family immigrated from India to Vancouver, BC, is torn by the pressures of fulfilling her perceived duty to her family, her community and her culture. Not adhering to t...more
Beautiful story. The characters were really easy to relate too. Sometimes the cultural references would be a bit confusing, but it was still an enjoyable read.
This was an excellent first novel. This book really speaks about racisim and sterotypes. It helps to understand what ignorance still exists even today.
This book was very easy to read and the storyline was something I could relate to, being I grew up with alot of that culture. It's a great read!
A 3.5 stars overall - and a very solid 1st book. I found it a quick read. The author's writing was a delight - and she was able to build up a quiet, intense sort of atmosphere. I had some issues with the plot, and thought the ending could have been less melodramatic (hello bollywood).

It's set at the time of the author's adolescence, which would have been a more traditional time in that Indo-Cdn community, and when the community was smaller.

Meena is the youngest daughter of a widowed, uneducated...more
Friederike Knabe
In her debut novel, "Everything Was Good-Bye", Gurjinder Basran tells the story of one happy-unhappy family, seen through the eyes of Meena, the youngest of six sisters. Set against the backdrop of suburban British Columbia, Basran paints a richly coloured portrait of a close-knit Punjabi community, caught between the traditions of "home" in India and their Canadian home, where their community is surrounded by a predominantly white, rather laid-back English-speaking society. With an impressively...more
Meena's story is one of cultural diversity, of societal pressure, of understanding and the lack thereof, and of a young girl's desire to find herself. Her heritage and upbringing dictate an arranged marriage, and though her heart belongs to another, a fact that she is not yet certain of, she abides and enters into the marital covenant with hope and yet with longing to be somewhere else. Years pass and marriage has become a comfortable arena until Meena again meets the young man who stole her hea...more
Rating: 3.5 stars
Early Reviewer's boook via LibraryThing.com

Everything Was Good-Bye is about a traditional family of Indian women living in western Canada. The mother is a widowed illiterate with six daughters who want more out of life, especially the protagonist, Meena. The difficulty Meena’s mother must deal with is how to raise her children in this locale while preserving their strict culture.

This tale covers a familiar problem. The dilemma facing the author is how to write a proverbial tale...more
Carol Anne Lawry
Excellent read. I thought often of "The Jade Peony" written by Wayson Choy. Both take place in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, B.C. and have strong female elders. The intersection of these immigrant women and their young families being raised in a Western Society and the choices the children make brings a bright light to their struggles.

Meninder, the protagonist of Basran's story, leads a double life. She wears the garb, speaks the polite phrase of ritual but is constantly biting her tongue, c...more
This is a stunning novel. I can’t remember the last time I used that adjective in regards to a book, but it’s the only one that can accurately fit it. The story is bold, truthful, and compelling. It’s fictional but might as well represent the thousands of young girls and women that struggle in a fight between cultural duties and personal needs. Certain instances rang very true to my own life, and usually I hate books like that. I read for escapism, knowledge, and to fuel my imagination; being re...more
This was an incredible book. Everyone who has ever felt like an outsider, who has had to deal with stereotypes, and who has ever had to sacrifice a part of themselves for someone else will be able to relate to this book. Meena is a young Indo-Canadian girl who is desperate to follow a different path than the one chosen for her by her mother and the ones that her sisters have. She wants the freedom that other girls her age have and questions the rules that she has grown up with. With Liam, she fi...more
Dee at EditorialEyes
For this review and others, visit the EditorialEyes Blog.
3.5 out of 5

I first heard about Everything Was Good-bye through an invitation to join Penguin Canada and the Chatelaine Book Club for an evening with author Gurjinder Basran. Having a chance to hang out in the Penguin offices, sipping wine, chatting with other bloggers, and listening to Gurjinder read from the book and then answer questions was a not-to-be-missed experience, and I suggest you read the great recaps on Nicole About Tow...more
Celia Kennedy
On the back of the book the comment, "A heartbreaking novel about a young woman faced with a formidable choice: follow tradition or follow her heart," could not be more accurate.

Though amongst the saddest books I've ever read, I would recommend this book. This is the story of a family from India, who are deeply entrenched in their culture even though they now live in BC Canada. The story revolves around the youngest of six daughters, Meena, and how she is caught between wanting to please her fam...more
Forgotten Realms Queen
** spoiler alert ** Here we meet Meena, I think one of the youngest of six girls of a single mom who immigrated to Canada with her husband and six daughters when everyone was still very young, too young to remember India or England where they were born/lived respectively.

First off, this is a very powerful book, exploring the generational gap a lot of children have with immigrant parents, the parents often wanting to hold on to old ideas, customs, and traditions, and the children often wanting to...more
Edwin Lang
I enjoyed this book immensely. I hope Ms Basran has the energy to write more and as well. I found the heroine and the choices she made believable. Sometimes we’d wish that other decisions and paths be taken but life is generally not like that. We tend to make questionable choices, suffer some harm and, if we are lucky, learn.

Meena seemed to me, as were almost each of Ms Basran’s characters, a prisoner of her culture. I recall – I think correctly – that the Talmud instructs us that we are product...more
Dawn Ang
If it wouldn't have come off as obnoxious to write this review in All Caps, I would've done it. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK! Yes, you should imagine me yelling that last sentence. It is amazing. AMAZING! Don't miss out on the greatest thing you're going to read this year.


It is that good.

This book is incredibly underrated. I can't understand why it hasn't received more five-star reviews! I have nothing but PRAISE for Basran's marvelous debut novel.

"Everything Was Good-bye" is a wor...more
Kailey Mccarron
When fingering through the shelves of my local bookstore, I stumbled upon Everything Was Goodbye, by Gurjinder Basran, the colorful and thoughtfully designed cover was what truly intrigued me. Everyone has heard the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but honestly, the cover was what enticed me to devote myself in this novel. When I got home I was not certain to whether I would actually enjoy reading Everything Was Goodbye, but astonishingly enough I found I could not keep myself from...more
Sometimes I wonder if I just keep reading novels because I’m searching for exactly the right story that I want to read, and I read a lot of good books, but it’s never quite what I was hoping for. And then I read one like Everything Was Goodbye that is exactly right. It’s beautifully written, with imperfect characters and an achingly tragic love story. I got to cry all through the last few chapters--sometimes with happiness, sometimes with despair, sometimes with both at the same time.

Meena is t...more
Jasreet Badyal
This is in all likelihood the book that has moved the most in my life. I started it earlier today in a coffee shop, eventually meandered to the ocean because the coffee shop closed, followed by a noodle shop, and then finished it on my way home, with the last two pages read outside the door to my building. I read the entire thing in public and shed way too many tears. The few times that I noticed people seeing me, I think they were baffled by me all huddled up around a book, silently wiping away...more
Ashley Arthur
I won an ARC of this book from a Goodreads giveaway listed by Pintail Books.

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Gurjinder Basran. It's the story of Meena, one of six daughters, who is raised by a single mother in an Indian community in Canada. Meena is in high school when the book begins, and it spans about ten years of her life. Although this book is a love story about Meena and Liam (who is, unfortunately for Meena, not Indian), I thought the heart of the story was Meena's struggle to decide...more
Teena in Toronto
This story starts off in the 1990s when Meena is in her last year of high school. She is going to school with Liam and they become friends, which displeases her mother because he is white so she has to sneak around with him. Liam's homelife isn't great and he runs away. He asks Meena to go with him. She's torn and has a difficult decision to make. Does she defy her mother and culture and go with Liam or does she stay home and stay on the track? That's just the first section of the book and I don...more
** Received as a First Reads Giveaway.

A good first novel. Look forward to the next ones.

Some of the writing and imagary was good but overall a depressing book. Meena is so full of envy and sadness that she's difficult to like. In no particular order some of things that detracted from the book.

It may be true, but I couldn't make myself believe that sixteen years after the death of the husband/father people came every Sunday to mourn.

Would have liked one or two scenes of joy and happiness, even a...more
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Gurjinder Basran’s debut novel, Everything Was Good-bye, was the winner of Mother Tongue Publishing's “Search for the Great BC Novel Contest” in 2010 and was awarded the 2011 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for the most outstanding work of fiction by a BC author. Gurjinder studied creative writing at Simon Fraser University and the Banff Center for the Arts.
More about Gurjinder Basran...

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